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UK warns against Indian variant of COVID-19, terms it ‘variant of concern’

Cases of the B.1.617.2 variant increased to 520 from 202 over the last week, PHE said.

May 09, 2021 / 08:42 AM IST
Public Health England designated variant B.1.617.2, one of three variants identified in India that has spread to Britain, a variant of concern.

Public Health England designated variant B.1.617.2, one of three variants identified in India that has spread to Britain, a variant of concern.

Britain has labelled the Indian variant of coronavirus a "variant of concern", following a rise in the number of cases in the UK and evidence of community transmission.

Public Health England designated variant B.1.617.2, one of three variants identified in India that has spread to Britain, a variant of concern.

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The B.1.617.2, classified as a Variant Under Investigation (VUI) on April 28, is now known as VOC-21APR-02 after it was found to be at least as transmissible as the so-called Kent variant, detected in England last year and the dominant variant in the UK so far, PHE said.

Cases of VOC-21APR-02 have increased to 520 from 202 over the last week and almost half the cases are related to travel or contact with a traveller, PHE said.

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It also said there was insufficient evidence to suggest if the variant is also more dangerous.

Cases of the B.1.617.2 variant increased to 520 from 202 over the last week, PHE said, mainly in London and the northwest town of Bolton, with almost half the cases related to contact with a traveller.

The public health body said other characteristics of the B.1.617.2 variant were still being investigated.

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"There is currently insufficient evidence to indicate that any of the variants recently detected in India cause more severe disease or render the vaccines currently deployed any less effective," PHE said in a statement.

The original India variant officially known as B.1.617 was first detected in October. Last month, PHE had categorised two further subtypes -- B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3.

Other variants of concern include variants first identified in Kent, southeast England, as well as South Africa and Brazil.

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first published: May 9, 2021 08:42 am

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